A Once-Tiny Burg Copes with Growing Pains
By Joyce Driggs Edlefsen
My first memorable visit to Victor was aboard a passenger train. I was traveling with the rest of my first-grade classmates from Driggs on what was then an annual student field trip. That was sixty-two years ago, when Victor was a terminus for tourists traveling to and from Yellowstone National Park and Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The train brought not only first-graders and other local passengers but also skiers eager to try out the runs near Victor and across Teton Pass in Jackson. Its freight cars brought supplies and produce and took away cattle and grain.
Six decades later, the trains no longer run. Instead, the tracks have become part of a rail-to-trail system that enables cyclists and runners to travel between Victor and Driggs without dodging the increasingly large amount of traffic on Idaho Highway 33, which links the two towns.
Victor today is a shock to people who saw it even twenty years ago as a sleepy small town with a few businesses lining the broad Main Street. That street is still wide, but it now includes bike lanes and turning lanes and space for trendy reverse diagonal parking. Most noticeable is the new stoplight, which might sound amusing to big city folks but in a town of 1,928 (at last official count in 2010) is surely a symbol of growth. The businesses that line Main and its side streets appear to be thriving. The city limits have grown to accommodate new subdivisions and more businesses. Movie star sightings are not unusual, and diversity is obvious. A busy café/tattoo place is located across the street from the Valley of the Tetons Library, which just won a tax levy election for more funding.